01/22/22

Looking at Mark S. Smith’s Book (2019) “The Genesis of Good and Evil” (Part 8 of 16)

0044 What happens when the Ubaid begins?

The following claims are stated plainly in The First Singularity and Its Fairy Tale Trace.  They are dramatized in An Archaeology of the Fall.  Both e-works are available at smashwords and other electronic-book venues.  Search Razie Mah along with the title.

The Ubaid of southern Mesopotamia first appears on the edges of the newly filled Persian Gulf.  The Ubaid is similar to all the Developed Neolithic villages of the day, except for one difference.  The Ubaid practices speech-alone talk.  All other cultures practice hand-speech talk.

In hand-speech talk, the referent is imaged or indicated by the gesture-word.  In speech-alone talk, spoken words are pure symbols, labels that can be attached to the part, as well as to the whole.  The semiotic world of the Ubaid is correspondingly out of kilter. Speech-alone talk can fashion words for things that cannot be pictured or pointed to in hand talk.

Consider the word, “wheel”.  The wheel does not appear in nature.  How can hand-speech talk picture or point to a wheel?  Instead, the rotary motion that goes into making pottery gains a spoken name.  Then, an artifact is built that validates the name.  The Uruk period, following the Ubaid, invents the wheel.

Different producers develop specialized languages, increasing their innovation and productivity.  Different social circles find new ways to organize, increasing their capacities for regimentation and coordinated action.  The Ubaid becomes rich and powerful.  The subsequent Uruk period is more rich and more powerful.  The Sumerian Dynastic is labeled, “civilization”.

These sociological trends take place over thousands of years.  They are difficult to fathom.  No one really can figure out what is happening.  But, whatever it is, it does not stop.  Soon enough, the present erases the past.  Then, the present erases the past, over and over and over.  It is like a pustule that festers, then ruptures, festers, then ruptures, over and over.  Each iteration is different.  Each iteration is more uncanny.

0046 The Epic of Gilgamesh recounts the adventures of a king, who lives (according to many intelligent guesses) around 4500 years ago.  The Ubaid coalesces around 7800 years ago.  Let me imagine that a complete overturning of the established order occurs  each time the conjunctions of Jupiter and Saturn move into a new element, around every 200 years.  In the 3300 years between the start of the Ubaid and King Gilgamesh, sixteen complete turnovers occur.  How can anyone comprehend the changes?

Yet, the fairy tales of Adam and Eve convey the nature of this social process.  There is a definite beginning, in a idyllic garden.  A threshold is crossed, the garden is lost.  Then, another threshold is crossed.  Cain kills Abel.  Then, another threshold is crossed.  Lamech, with two wives, murders a man with none.  Then, the genealogies begin.  One name follows another.  The lengths of the lives call to mind the slow grinding of the heavenly spheres.  One overturning follows another.

0047 Today, we are blessed with novel, otherwise invisible celestial timekeepers.  Uranus, 84 year orbit, associates to revolutions.  Neptune, 165 year orbit, links to dreamy oceanic spirits of the age.  Dwarf Pluto, 248 year orbit, goes with the trees of life and death.  The years of discovery oddly reinforce astrological associations.  They are 1781, 1846 and 1930, respectively.  Think French Revolution (1791), the Communist Manifesto (published 1848) and America’s big stock market crash (1929).

The stars and the planets are telling.  Recall, Satan, the one who is defeated in the first half of the grand sweep of Paradise Lost, is a stellar angel, at first.  Now, he sells faithlessness, to us, just as he did to Eve.

0048 The conditions that define the authors of Genesis 3 touch base with the reactions of mothers, in the tradition of Seth, within the Ubaid, to ever increasing social complexity.  Each story is like the completion of a spiraling development, like royalty (Jupiter) having to meet time (Saturn), like the cycle of peace and revolution (Uranus), like popular movements, rising like islands, then drowning in a sea of their own contradictions (Neptune) and like a long, treacherous trek between the tree of life and the tree of death (Pluto).  The cycles spiral because labor and social specializations are always innovating.

The fairy tales of Adam and Eve point to the start of our current Lebenswelt.

01/19/22

Looking at Mark S. Smith’s Book (2019) “The Genesis of Good and Evil” (Part 11 of 16)

0063 What does the woman want?

Trees are all over the garden.  But, there are two notable botanical specimens.  There is the tree of life, somewhere in the periphery.  There is the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, placed right in the center.  So, I already know what the woman wants.  She wants to be center stage.

0064 The tree in the center of the garden has not attracted Adam’s curiosity, so far.  He is happy with a tasty garden, attentive domesticates, and the rib-helper.  Wow, she is the most.

0065 Yes, the woman has desire.  Sure, the trees are good for food and beautiful to behold.  In Genesis 2:9, the author uses the word, “nechmad”, meaning desirable.

0066 Then, the woman enters into conversation with the serpent, who also has desires.  Its desire is to manipulate her desire.  He wants to pitch a sale.  Immediately before Eve seals the deal, Eve notices that the fruit is “ta’awah” (desire) to the eyes and “nechmad” (desirable) to make one wise.  Then, the serpent closes the pitch with a promise that the purchase will open her eyes.  She will be like the gods, knowing good and evil.

0067 Then, Adam joins in and the eyes of both are opened.

They realize that they are exposed.

0068 This word, “teshuqah” (desire), shows up again in Eve’s chastisement, as well as in the Song of Songs.  In the Dead Sea Scrolls, the same word gains creepier overtones.  The clay, within the human person, desires to return to dust.  This is an insight2V.

0069 But, what about the conditions2H?

Is Genesis 3 about human sin?

Or, is it about giving one’s sons and daughters a little hint about the nature of desire?

There is a difference between desirable and desire.  Plus, the serpent can close on both.

01/18/22

Looking at Mark S. Smith’s Book (2019) “The Genesis of Good and Evil” (Part 12 of 16)

0070 In chapter five, Mark Smith asks, “When does the story of human sin begin in Genesis?”

0071 At this point, conditions further clarify.

The first audiences for the early stories of Genesis are children.  The first authors are their mothers, the daughters of Seth.  Eve is their great-great-…-great grandmother.  The stories convey to each child this lineage, a direct descent to this mother, who is center stage.  Eve is more than a foolish woman who talks to serpents.  Eve is your mother as well.

0072 What does it mean to be a mother, a woman, cursed under Eve’s indictment?

A Primer on the Family presents the family as a prototype of the corporation, the content level of the organization tier.  Eve, the woman, is the producer.  Her man is the management.  Her children are the service, or, in today’s terms, the human resources.  Eve does not change the centrality of the mother.  She magnifies it.

She offers a warning.

0073 The story of Eve’s temptation offers many lessons, including ones on the nature of desire.  As Smith points out, Genesis 3 portrays a deeply disturbing psychological narrative.  Don’t all good fairy tales?

Plus, I add, Eve’s narrative, along with other Genesis stories, captures the weirdness of the constellation of unconstrained social complexity during the Ubaid.  Adam and Eve are made in paradise, eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, and are expelled.  Neither Genesis 2 nor 3 use the word, “sin”.  The label, “evil”, is only mentioned in the name of the infamous tree.

Afterwards, Eve bears two children, Cain and Abel.  Eve is the producer.

0074 “Sin” is mentioned in Genesis 4, along with the word for desire, “teshuqah”.  Desire appears in the temptation of Eve and in her rebuke, where God says, “Your desire will be for your man.”  Yes, the woman will desire her man to be her manager.  There is no sin in that.

So, where does the word, “sin”, first appear?

When Cain, the gardener, complains about God preferring burnt offerings of meat, God offers a revealing repost, saying (more or less), “If you do what is right, you can bear it.  If you do not do right, sin crouches at your door.  Its desire (teshuqah) is for you, but you can rule over it.”

The word, “sin”, appears for the first time.  It does so in conjunction with a desire that crouches, like a predator, at Cain’s threshold.  Cain can rule it.  Or, it can rule Cain.

We all know what happens next.

0075 The daughters of Seth do not pull punches.  This conjunction of “sin” and “desire” is so provocative that I wonder, what child would not remember it, later, as an adult?

Even more intriguing is how this conjunction exposes a disquieting reality within the Ubaid’s spiral towards unconstrained social complexity.  The idea of one brother killing the other is not out of the question.  Why?  Such killingis an artifact that validates what the murderous brother has been telling himself.

0076 In hand-speech talk, gesture-words picture or point to their referents.  So, the words cannot lie about what they refer to.

In speech-alone talk, spoken words do not picture or point to their referents.  Instead, we construct artifacts that validate our projection of meaning, presence and message.  We speak, and the world comes into creation.  Not just any creation.  Our creation.  Our imagination constructs artifacts that validate our spoken words.

0077 Oh, those damned artifacts.

When fatty portions are added to a fire, the fire jumps to life.

When cabbage is added to a fire, the fire smolders.

0078 One son does not talk to himself.  Instead, he praises God.

The other mutters under his breath.  He complains about God’s rejection of his artifacts.

0079 The children hear a fairy tale, telling them of dangers in their upcoming lives.

The mothers hear the tragedy of two sons, where one rules over his desires and the other does not.

0080 This is one of the poisonous fruits of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, the tree of speech-alone talk.  I can create my own world through my own symbolic actions that simultaneously do not honor God and open the door to the one whose desire is for my desire.

Sin crouches at Cain’s door.  It desires to speak to him.

Behold the fruits of the tree of death.

01/17/22

Looking at Mark S. Smith’s Book (2019) “The Genesis of Good and Evil” (Part 13 of 16)

0081 Mark Smith points out other links between Genesis 3 and 4.

When God rebukes Adam, He curses the ground.

When God confronts Cain, He says, “…now you are cursed from the ground…”

God expels Adam and Eve from Eden.

Cain replies to God, saying, “…you have driven me out…”

Adam and Eve settle east of Eden.

Cain goes to live in the land of Nod, east of Eden.

0082 Genesis 4 does not elaborate on the crouching sin.  I suppose Abel’s murder is plain enough.

Smith notes that Abel’s offering is pleasing to the Lord.

Smith adds that God does not punish Cain for murdering Abel.

Smith does not say what happens next.  He is tracking two words, “sin” and “evil”.

0083 However, what happens next provides insight into the author-ity of Genesis 4.  After the murder, God gives Cain a mark, deterring others from killing Cain.  Cain founds a city.  Within a few generations, another murder occurs.  Lamech, who has two wives, murders a man with none.

0084 Here is a critique of the social conditions of the Ubaid.  Increasing labor and social specializations lead to greater wealth and power.  The haves learn to take from the have nots.

01/15/22

Looking at Mark S. Smith’s Book (2019) “The Genesis of Good and Evil” (Part 14 of 16)

0085 In chapter six, Mark Smith asks, “Where does human evil begin in Genesis?”

In Genesis 3, Eve takes the fruit.

In Genesis 6, divine sons take beautiful daughters.

0086 Genesis 6:2 describes divine males commandeering human females.

What does this mean?

An extrapolation from Lamech offers an answer.  These men are “divine” in name only.  These wealthy and powerful “gods” have designs on women who attract their attention.

Does this sound vaguely contemporary?

0087 Then, there is the word for design, “yester”.

In Genesis 6:5, God admits that every design of the thoughts of civilized hearts is only evil, continually.

In Genesis 8:21, God, having let loose the civilization-destroying flood, regrets the act, but does not change the diagnosis.  The design (yester) of the human heart is to evil from its youth.

Its youth?

Think of the start of the Ubaid.

Unconstrained social complexity is a condiiton2H.

0088 Yes, evil in Genesis, associates to design.

The same word, “yester”, appears in Genesis 2:7, when God designs a man from earthen materials.

Smith notes that “yester”, design, typically applies to craftsmanship.  With the story of Noah, craftsmanship applies to thoughts.  So I ask, “What tool shapes thought?”  The answer is spoken words.  This is an insight2V.

0089 Various origin myths of the ancient Near East mention the Great Flood of Mesopotamia as a civilization-changing event.  By the time of the flood, evil and design are already joined.  Everyone knows it.

0090 As far as Mark Smith is concerned, by the end of chapter six, he covers the genesis of “evil”, “sin” and the fall(out).  He has only “good” and “original sin” left.

07/15/21

Looking at Josh Hammer’s Opinion Piece (2021) “…Experts” (Part 1 of 4)

0001 Josh Hammer authors an opinion piece for The Epoch Times.  Zerohedge reprints the opinion on Friday, June 4, 2021 at 9:00 p.m.  The full title is “Covid-19 Has Forever Destroyed America’s Trust in Ruling Class ‘Experts'”. 

0002 I only want to look at the first paragraph.

0003 I will look at this paragraph in two ways.

First, I will use the Greimas Square.  The Greimas Square is introduced in Comments On Philip Marey’s Post (2021) “Insurrection”, appearing in this blog in January 2021.  To date, no series has been generated for the Greimas Square in smashwords.

Second, I will use the first two levels of the society tier.  The two-level interscope is introduced in A Primer on Sensible and Social Construction (available at smashwords).  The society tier is posited in the masterwork How To Define the Word “Religion” (also available at smashwords).  

The two-level interscope recently appears in this blog with Saturn-Jupiter Conjunction in Aquarius (Jan. 2021), Be Little Men (Sept. 2020) and Comments on Yoran Hazony’s Post (2020) “Challenges of Marxism” (Sept. 2020).

0004 Here is the first paragraph of Josh Hammer’s opinion piece, reproduced for examination in the following two blogs.  There are three sentences in this paragraph.  I present them in sequence.

Hammer writes, “As even many casual observers of America’s fractious politics are aware, the overwhelming majority of lawmaking at the federal level no longer takes place in Congress as the Constitution’s framers intended.

“Instead, the vast majority of the ‘rulemaking’ governing Americans’ day-to-day lives now takes place behind closed doors, deep in the bowels of the administrative state’s sprawling bureaucracy.”The brainchild of progressive President Woodrow Wilson, arguments on behalf of the administrative state are ultimately rooted in, among other factors, a disdain for the messy give-and-take of republican politics and an epistemological preference for rule by enlightened clerisy.”

07/14/21

Looking at Josh Hammer’s Opinion Piece (2021) “…Experts” (Part 2 of 4)

0005 First, I ask the question, “How does the term, ‘expert’, distinguish itself in spoken language, defined by Ferdinand de Saussure as two arbitrarily related systems of differences?”

Or, more briefly, how does the spoken word, “expert”, hold a place in a finite system of differences?

0006 An answer: The word, “expert”, has a unique Greimas Square, a configuration of four elements (A1, B1, A2 and B2).  Each element forms a corner in a square.

Here is a picture.

0007 Here are the rules: A1 is the focal word.  B1 contrasts with A1.  A2 contradicts B1 and complements A1.  B2 contrasts with A2, contradicts A1 and complements B1.

0008 The term, “expert” goes into A1.

What contrasts with A1?

How about the word, “bureaucrat”?

“Bureaucrat” goes into B1.

0009 What contradicts the bureaucrat?

Expert discourse focuses on the subject-matter and does not take into account other issues.  Subject-matter discourse (A2) is content-oriented.

0010 What contrasts with subject-matter discourse (A2)?

Administrative, rule-making discourse does (B2).

0011 In the next blog, I show the diagram.

07/13/21

Looking at Josh Hammer’s Opinion Piece (2021) “…Experts” (Part 3 of 4)

0012 From the prior blog, I construct the following Greimas square.

0013 Each word is a placeholder in a system of differences.  Clearly, the word, “expert”, is not the same as the word, “bureaucrat”.  But, the words are entangled, and therefore, the distinction is subject to manipulation.

0014 What are the key relational features of this distinction?

0015 The first contrast involves rules (A:B contrast in 1 and 2).

The expert knows the rules.  The expert does not make the rules.  The expert is rule-bound.

The bureaucrat makes and enforces rules. The bureaucrat is rule-following.

Hammer reinforces this contrast by saying that the vast majority of rules governing the everyday lives of Americans are made behind closed doors, by federal bureaucrats.  This governance fulfills the vision of progressive President Woodrow Wilson (1856-1924, President 1913-1921).  The administrative state has grown for over a century.

0016 The second pair of contradictions (A2 to B1 and B2 to A1) involves performance and discourse.

Expert discourse is bound to subject-matter.  The expert knows the rules of the subject-matter.  Personal and organizational circumstances are not supposed to influence the expert’s advice.  The expert is supposed to be objective (and, ideally, suprasubjective).

Administrative discourse is bound to rule-making and rule-enforcing.  The bureaucrat engages in ministerial operations.  Bureaucrats tend to be subjective, while pretending to be objective, and intersubjective, while feigning to be suprasubjective.  Hammer highlights these points by saying that bureaucrats disdain give-and-take political wranglingand prefer the ministrations of an enlightened clerisy.

0017 What does this imply?

The use of the word, “expert”, by the federal government, for a person in its employ, is misleading.

The word, “bureaucrat”, is not misleading.

0018 Does the slogan, “Trust the experts”, sound as convincing as “Trust the bureaucrats.”?

Here is a good example of deception through the manipulative use of spoken words.

07/12/21

Looking at Josh Hammer’s Opinion Piece (2021) “…Experts” (Part 4 of 4)

0019 Second, I look at the confounding of the sovereign and institution levels of the society tier, implicit in Josh Hammer’s opinion piece, and intrinsic to BG(il)L corporate media’s use of the word, “expert”, in reference to a federal bureaucrat.

0020 The following two-level interscope portrays the first two levels of the society tier.  The interscope for the society tieris developed in the masterwork, How To Define the Word “Religion”, available at smashwords.

0021 Here is a diagram.

0022 According to the first paragraph of Josh Hammer’s opinion piece, bureaucrats exercise federal power2b within the “bowels” of the administrative state3bC.  They do so by filling in legislative ambiguities and authorizations2bC. Bureaucratic decrees2bC establish the order1bC that vague legislation2bC mandates.

0023 How do federal bureaucrats develop their rule-based protocols?

They follow their “guts”… I mean… their “experts”.

0024 Of course, the metaphors of bowels and guts point to digestion.  Digestion nourishes the body.  What body?  The administrative state?

0025 So, I ask, “What if the administrative state is a body?”

Well, the body is animated by a soul.

What is the soul of the administrative state?

0026 Well, why do the legislators pass vague laws2bC that authorize federal bureaucracies to do what they deem appropriate in order1bC to achieve certain organizational objectives2aC?

They do so on the basis of righteousness1aC.

0027 Does this imply that the Congress confounds the potential for order1bC with the potential for righteousness1aC?

Yes, for the past century, Congress establishes institutions3a within the federal government3bC on the basis of righteousness1aC, leaving the (federal) institutions themselves3aC to fill in the details of the authorizations2bC.

0028 This confounding constitutes one of two types of religion.  Infrasovereign religions are institutions3aC arising out of righteousness1aC and bounded by the necessity of order1bC.  Sovereign religions are institutions3aC that require (and exercise) sovereign power3bC in order to implement their organizational objectives2aC.

The other type of religion is suprasovereign3cC.

0029 While Josh Hammer’s point concerns the manipulative use of the word, “expert”, to refer to a federal bureaucrat, there is a deeper current in his opinion.  Vaguely-worded legislation authorizing bureaucracies to fill in the details2bCconfounds order1bC and righteousness1aC and constitutes the formation of a sovereign religion3aC.  Such legislation2bCviolates the first amendment of the Constitution, forbidding the federal government from establishing a religion.

06/29/21

Looking at Kirk Kanzelberger’s Essay (2020) “Reality and the Meaning of Evil” (Part 1 of 18)

0001 What is Reality?

Reality is a journal for philosophical discourse.

It is worthy of financial support by people of good will.

Reality is the only journal, to date, closing the gap between Thomistic philosophy and Peircean semiotics.

0002 John Deely (1942-2017) finds the loops through which a thread of reality now runs.  The two loops?  A thread of reality?  John Poinsot (1589-1644), a Baroque scholastic in the tradition of Thomism, and Charles Peirce (1839-1914), an American philosopher, chemist and intellectual voyager, formulate the same definition of sign.  One marks the end of the Latin Age, the second age of understanding.  The other starts the Age of Triadic Relations, the fourth age of understanding.  The thread is the realness of sign-relations.

Reality is the only journal, to date, running more threads through these loops.

0003 In contrast, Razie Mah builds little figures, illuminating triadic relations.  He constructs a grand theodramatic narrative, The Human NicheAn Archaeology of the Fall and How To Define the Word “Religion”, where these triadic diagrams shine.  They glimmer in the darkness of the current Age of Ideas.

The same darkness shrouds Reality.

0004 With this said, I open the pages of Kirk Kanzelberger’s essay, titled, “Reality and the Meaning of Evil” published in the inaugural issue of Reality (volume 1(1) (2020) pages 146-204).

0005 I also have, in hand, A Primer on the Category-Based Nested Form and A Primer on Sensible and Social Construction.

Perhaps, these triadic structures will serve as guides.